Health Information Management

Conference Update: Professional of the Year Award and Recognition of Professional Achievement Winners revealed

CDI Strategies, May 8, 2014

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On Tuesday, May 6, more than 1,000 conference attendees gathered in the Bally’s Casino Event Center to fete the 2014 CDI Professional of the Year Michelle Custodio, and the two Recognition of CDI Professional Achievement award recipients Katy Good and Karen Chase during the ACDIS Conference Welcome and Awards Reception sponsored by Elsevier Clinical Solutions.

As the premier healthcare community for clinical documentation professionals ACDIS annually celebrates the achievements of exemplary CDI professionals. Nominations of individuals who work to expand the role, promote the profession, and support the Association are accepted and reviewed by the ACDIS Conference Committee, which evaluates and chooses the final nominees.

Michelle Custodio, RHIA, CCDS, CDIP, Corporate HIMS Operation Manager at Ohio Health in Columbus, has worked in the CDI field for 14 years, served as corporate manager over the CDI program at Banner Health, a large non-profit hospital system. She spearheaded the program’s start in 1998, and expanded Banner’s CDI efforts to 19 facilities across eight states. Custodio demonstrated her professional dedication as a speaker at AHIMA conferences in 2004, 2005, and 2011, as well as at ACDIS National Conference in 2012. In addition, she served as a CDI subject matter expert for AHIMA during its development of its CDIP credential and on its AHIMA CDI Workgroup committee. Custodio also earned recognition from this year’s ACDIS Conference Committee for her development of CDI tools, physician education materials, and her expansion of CDI efforts into areas of EMR, quality improvement, and case management concerns.

“Michelle was a subject matter expert in clinical documentation improvement. She worked with more than 30 CDI specialists providing reports, education, and leadership to the program,” wrote Sandy Severson, vice president of care improvement at Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, former system senior director of quality, at Banner Health. “She was a key contributor to the success of the program and our surpassing our annual goals.”  

Katy Good, RN, BSN, CCDS, CCS, AHIMA Approved ICD-10CM/PCS Trainer, is the Clinical Documentation Program Coordinator for Flagstaff (Arizona) Medical Center where she teamed up with quality, coding, and care coordination to expand her CDI program’s focus. Since joining the team the staff expanded from 2.5 FTEs to eight and reviews 100% of Flagstaff Medical’s inpatient admission records.

A nurse and a certified coder, she is “the consummate CDI who is striving for excellence in her field,” according to Benjamin Keeler, RN, BSN, PCCN, quality manager, at the facility.

In addition to her efforts within her program Good regularly contributes to the professional growth of the ACDIS association and the education of its CDI community through her contributions to the CDI Talk networking group, posting materials with the Forms & Tools Library, offering insight for CDI Journal articles, and is a speaker at this year’s ACDIS conference. “She understands the constant changes occurring in healthcare and is eager to tackle those coming down the road,” Keeler wrote.

Karen Chase, RNC, BSN, is the Assistant Director Clinical Documentation Improvement at Stony Brook (New York) University Medical Center. Her staff describes her as “dedicated,” “supportive,” “friendly,” even “outstanding.” Nominated by multiple CDI specialists from her facility, most point to Chase’s ability to transform the program’s previous struggles into successes by focusing on capturing quality, severity, and risk of mortality statistics.

In her nomination, CDI specialist Bernadette Slovensky explained how Chase took over the program, hired eight new staff members, provided them with training, and rebuilt the CDI program. Team members point to an improvement of the case-mix index from 1.7 to 2.8 in less than a year and further plans for expansion in to the emergency and OB/GYN departments. In the fall of 2013, Chase approached ACDIS to expand networking opportunities in the Suffolk County region of New York, an effort which remains underway. Chase “is fully committed to the institution, the patients and the staff in bringing quality, professionalism to what clinical documentation is all about,” wrote Eileen Finnin, RN, CDI specialist at Stony Brook.

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